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Swazi trip opens eyes to needs outside the U.S.

Eight students. Two staff. One big impact.

In partnership with The Luke Commission, a team of MVNU students and staff traveled to Swaziland for two weeks to serve and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. The group was led by Director of Community and International Ministries Catie Hayes and Director of Discipleship Ministries Kendra Lambert.

The Luke Commission is a ministry working to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS throughout the south African country of Swaziland. Members provide medical care, counseling, follow-up treatments and supplies to the sick, injured and in need.

During the first week in Swaziland, students helped unload nine shipping containers of men’s and women’s clothes, toys, office supplies, hospital gowns, blankets, shoes and more. They then sorted, counted and organized the various donations to be distributed to those in need.

“At the time it seemed like busy work,” said junior Matt Cellar. “But, then we thought about the hours The Luke Commission workers would have had to take away from their jobs to do what we did. That would be time spent not focusing on preparing for the outreach.”

The second week the group traveled to mobile clinics, classrooms converted into useable medical stations in local schools. While there, they experienced the ministry’s impact on the medical, spiritual and emotional heath of Swaziland.

At the clinics, students watched eyewashes, worked in the pharmacy, helped perform circumcisions and witnessed the results of countless HIV tests. They had the opportunity to hand out shoes to those in need while building relationships with the staff and locals.

“The Swazi community was the most loving and genuinely happy people I have ever met,” said junior Savannah Bryner. “They had next to nothing and they were still happy and loving.”

The Luke Commission has treated over 60,000 patients and worked in over 500 communities since the start of the ministry in 2005. The group’s mission is “to deliver compassionate, comprehensive, healthcare to the most isolated and underserved populations of southern Africa.”

“I learned how fortunate we are as Americans and how we take so much for granted,” said Bryner. “I also learned how to be happy for the little things. This trip impacted all who went, and helped to open their eyes to needs outside of the United States.”

Since 2011 MVNU has sent multiple groups composed of students, faculty and staff to Swaziland, each one returning with compassion and a desire to continue the outreach.

“I went because I felt God calling me there… to go and see everything to really appreciate what I have” said Bryner. “I really feel a call to go back after I’m a dentist and help with The Luke Commission.”

If you are interested in traveling with MVNU to Swaziland or another mission destination, contact Hayes at or visit

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